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PHOENIX -- This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and one church is doing something extra to say thank you to Valley teachers.

"It's probably hard to overstate how important all of our schools and educators are, and we just wanted to take some time to appreciate them," said Ashley Wooldridge, the executive pastor of Christ Church of the Valley.

The church has regular attendance of about 21,000 people a week at its five campuses Valleywide. Wooldridge said that they are showing their appreciation by sending out $25 Target store gift cards to 18,000 school employees at 227 local schools.

"We're just happy to do it," Wooldridge said. "We have a church of a lot of people who love to pour into schools, and they're all contributing to make this happen."

Wooldridge added that CCV spent $450,000 to buy the cards at Target.

Churchgoers are then buying the cards from CCV and sending them to teachers and school employees along with personalized thank you notes.

"If we can say thank you to even one person that hasn't received a thank you this whole past year, that, in and of itself, is worth it," said Wooldridge.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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